Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hard-hearted Gardener

I'm thinking about taking out this tree:

...just because I don't like the way it's lookin' at me.

Actually, I don't think it fits into the landscape I have going for me now in the front yard. When I planted this Spartan juniper several years ago, I was still fairly new to the game and hadn't really developed a sense of my particular garden style. I would just stroll through nurseries and pick out things that looked pretty to me, take them home, and stick them in the ground. You can imagine my survival rate...oy.

Over the years, though, as my interest in the natural landscape around me has grown, so too has my sense of place, and the garden I have now has evolved to reflect that. It looks very much like a windswept prairie-plains/hardscrabble homestead/Texas cottage/grubby child-wandering-through-an-arroyo-on-a-Saturday-morning kind of garden. Not surprisingly, as I've planted things more suited to that aesthetic, my plant survival rate has risen accordingly. And it feels like it just fits, you know?

I don't guess it looks much like the typical suburban yard, being a little too wild and sprawly for that designation, but that's okay.

So this morning I was sitting out on the front patio trying to do some writing when--as it is too often its wont to do--my mind began to drift. Mostly I found myself taking stock in the landscape: That live oak ought to be limbed up to open the space below; I should extend those feather grasses in the hell strip; a stand of rosemary would look good over there...

..and that Spartan juniper has really got to go.

Taking it out would open up the space, and what a hardscrabble homesteader's prairie-plains garden should reflect, most of all, is space, wide-open and plenty of it. So out it will come, and a desert willow will most likely be planted in its place. And I'll feel not one whit of sorrow for that juniper when it's gone.

This set me to thinking: Do you think that hard-core gardeners are less likely to feel sentimental about plants that are in the wrong place? I know a lot of people who will not cut down an otherwise healthy tree for any reason at all, believing trees to be extra-special kinds of beings. But it is my hypothesis that most true gardeners would only hesitate a little, if at all, if they felt a tree was a wrong fit for a spot. So here is my question: would you cut down a tree purely for aesthetic reasons? Visit the poll on the sidebar and let me know what you're thinking.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Well, bless my heart

Imagine my surprise to find that I'm a finalist in the category of Best Texas Blog in Blotanical's 2009 Awards. Let me tell you something, people, Texas has some mighty fine garden bloggers, so I am honored and humbled to be nominated. The other finalists are: Digging, Aunt Debbie's Gardens, Zanthan Gardens, and Great Stems. Any one of them ought to beat the socks plain off me, and rightly so.

I also made the cut on "Best Drought Tolerant Blog," where I am again in fine company: Digging, The Gardens of Petersonville, Town Mouse and Country Mouse, and Lost in the Landscape. A thorough sock-beating applies here, too.

A lot of my personal favorites made the list in other categories, and I've been busy wearing out my fingers casting my vote for them.

Y'all should get on over there and check them all out. And do a little voting while you're at it. You don't have to vote for me, but you do have to be registered with Blotanical if you are not already. It's easy to do and well worth the trouble. Click on this link to find out more about the awards. Click on this link to register at Blotanical. You can add your own blog there, or simply sign up as a "Blotanist." Look for the link at the top of the Blog Directory page, under the countdown clock for the awards.

And don't hurt your fingers pushing all those little radio buttons.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Year of the Rodent

Well, the rollicking summer festival sponsored by Order Rodentia remains in full swing in the Bike Garden. First it was the squirrels hosting their own months-long version of unchecked revelry, and now it's this:

Yes, that's right. Cleverly masquerading as a mess of decomposing leaves in my compost pile is a cocktail party-- a veritable bacchanalian scrum!--of Mus musculus domesticus, aka the ubiquitous house mouse.

You know, I employ a couple of cats to take care of this very problem, and where are they? Oh, that's right, taking a break from doing any real work.

Here's the ghostly Bill, "supervising" the building of the arroyo:

Here he is testing the depth of the hole:

And here is Koho, my not-so-ghostly 23 pound cat (yes, you read that number correctly*), doing what he usually does, which is to say lying around on top of the couch thinking about how long it will be until his next meal:

In truth, they both have pretty good street cred as mousers, which is why I cannot for the life of me figure out how they've let my compost bin become Mouse Condo Central. This will not do. We need to have a little chat about this matter. They get workman's comp, employer-paid health care, paid vacation, and a pension plan, I think it is only fair that I get a mouse-free compost bin in return. It is not too much to ask.

* He has big bones. Seriously big. Stinkin' mule big, only with better hair.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

We interrupt our regular programming... order to recover from the cold/flu/crud/whatever it is that has settled in The Management's head and chest. But wouldn't you know it? As soon as I'd made up my mind to stay in bed like a sensible girl, along comes a beautiful Saturday on the cusp of autumn--nearly windless, cool but not too cool, warm but not too warm; it's the kind of day that reminds you why you love the plains. And to add to temptation, last night the UPS man delivered a climbing rose I'd ordered from The Antique Rose Emporium.

Naturally, I was forced to rise from my sickbed and address the situation.

The rose is a climber, Madame Alfred Carriere, that I want to train along the fence and portal in the homesteader's garden. I've decided to grow a couple of antique roses there because I can imagine my fictitious woman homesteader bringing some roses along with her and planting them to remind her of home. Madame is a blush-white noisette that dates from 1879, so she certainly would have been around during the rough time frame that I have in mind (ca. 1900). The other, Prairie Rose, is a pink North American native that I planted last year; she only dates to 1924, but I'm the boss of my garden, so I'm allowed to fudge here and there.

I love getting plants from the ARE; they always arrive healthy and packed within an inch of their lives in two boxes, a pot, newspaper, and lots of tape. It's like opening a Christmas present that smells like the earth:

And some short work later (with only minimal hacking and nose-blowing), here Madame sits, all watered in and mulched to face the High Plains winter:

Now it's back to my hot tea and a lie-down.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Bicycle Path/Arroyo for the Garden

The Big Walu and I ride our bikes every day--to work, to the little neighborhood store, and just for fun. In fact, I suspect we use them a lot more than we use our cars, which sit in the driveway most of the time gathering dust. And therein lies a problem: the cars are in the way when we want to wheel our steeds out of  their storage place in the shop. Space between the driveway and my front garden has been tight, and so we've had  an unfortunate tendency to take the easy way out by "borrowing" some of our neighbor Nancy's lawn during egress. Nancy has never complained (and she never would), but it is a poor way to treat a neighbor and so it has to stop.

Last spring, I was showing the problem to my friend and colleague, Jason Hodges, who happens to be a landscape architect. Jason causally suggested building a dry arroyo in the garden that could double as a bike path. It was a brilliant idea, and so over the past few days, I've been busy at work implementing it.

This is the "before" view, showing the narrow space between the drive and a decorative split rail fence. 

The river rock has been delivered, and I am starting to put down several layers of newspaper (for weed suppression) in the area I've dug out for the decomposed granite I will use as the bed of the arroyo:

The decomposed granite arrived in a very fancy red dump truck:

Decomposed granite, or "DG," is the same mix used on many walking/running and cycling paths. In time it should pack down nicely and provide a firm base over which our bikes can roll.

Here is the same view of the "before" picture, now showing the "after:"

And the view we see as we wheel our bikes out:

I've always had a soft spot for arroyos (pronounced uh-roy'-o), which are what we call dry stream beds in this part of the world. Arroyos fill with water only when we've had either several days of rain or a really good thunderstorm, and then usually only for a day or two. The rest of the time, they are bone dry and make excellent an way to explore the desert on foot. I grew up in New Mexico, and some of my favorite childhood memories are from wandering up and down arroyos on the outskirts of our small town looking for rocks and arrowheads (probably the start of my career as a geologist).

Building the bike path brought back a lot of those memories, particularly as I worked on the edges of the arroyo, trying to distribute the river rocks so that they would look as though they'd traveled there naturally as part of the stream processes. My Masters and PhD are in geology, and I confess to a little unease as I did this, since these particular rocks--granite, sandstone, and limestone--would probably not be found in the same stream bed together. But you have to work with what you find at the stone yard, so I swallowed my misgivings and tried to imagine where the water would carry each of the components and deposit them. I also left some of the plants spilling over into the stream bed itself, as if they had established themselves there between floods. Spreading the rock, trying to think like a stream, re-living the memories--an exhausting but pleasurable day.

I'll leave you with a few detail shots:

That last photo is a nice shot of how good the buffalo grass/blue grama mix looks when it gets a little is the "prairie" that meets my "arroyo."

P.S. Nancy came over when it was all done and said she liked it.

P.S.S. Another friend named Nancy--a biologist colleague--sent me this email after seeing the photos of the bicycle path/arroyo. It's something interesting to think about:

I like the arroyo!  I was envisioning a bunch of tumbled boulders and wondered how you’d steer your bikes along it.  I guess I was thinking too literally.  ;-)
It also made me think about curves in nature, since one of the edges is curved and the other (by the driveway) is straight.  I tell my students in landscape ecology that nature doesn’t use straight lines, but people do because it’s more efficient (less fenceline to use, easier to steer a plow or combine, easier to survey property lines, etc.) and it represents a way of taming the wilderness—these straight lines are proof that humans are controlling this land now (which is a comforting thought to some).  In my yard, I have deliberately put in straight lines in order to feel like I have some modicum of control.  It’s absurd, but there it is.  I wonder if the “clean lines” of modern design—as opposed to older baroque, arabesque, or rococo design—represent an increasing gap between humans and nature. 

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Measure of Order

Warning: Political rant.

I don’t think of myself as a control freak, and anyone looking in on my garden probably intuits this right away. It is what a neighbor once described as “kind of wild-looking,” which, I suppose, was her euphemistic and diplomatic way of saying it was in need of a good mow. She followed this pronouncement by leaning forward and adding, “Some people like that sort of thing.” Perhaps she meant to comfort me.

I don’t know why my garden isn’t very neat. Lord knows, I seem to spend enough time in it, nipping here, tucking there. And still it looks like I feel that first blissful moment when I take off my bra at the end of the day, sort of sprawly and untamed, and happier for it. I hope that wasn’t too much information for you; I am obligated to report the truth.

Even so, a little control can be a good thing, though I tend not to think about it too much if things are going well. When that’s the case, I can kid myself into thinking I can take it or leave it—much like a bowl full of cheerios: tasty, but not tasty enough to mope around craving it. But of course when I want or need control and can’t have it, my view on the matter changes and I get a little panicky and cranky. Anyone who has ever tried to care for someone with Alzheimer’s knows what I’m talking about. It’s like trying to stop a train running over a loved one and you find that no matter how hard you push, and shove, and scream, and try to throw that damned track, you are helpless in the face of it. Nothing breaks your heart more completely than not being able to save someone.

The garden teaches us where we stand in the matter of control, which is to say we may think we’re in charge, but the minute our backs are turned to the landscape other forces take over. Crabgrass sprouts, fences fall down, squirrels eat hoses, drought takes a favorite rose. The whole universe is in a constant state of decay, and the best we can do in the garden is to stay that hand for just a little while. We are kidding ourselves if we think it is more than this.

And a garden that is a little bit untamed is one thing, but total decay is another altogether. A garden that has been allowed to decay completely is neither garden nor wilderness, but something in between that is dysfunctional and sad.

I woke up melancholy on Friday. It didn’t help that it was September 11th and no matter to which station I tuned the radio, there were somber tributes all day long. Don’t get me wrong—I think it is our duty to remember the fallen, and not just those who perished that day, but those who have perished at the hand of violence throughout the long history of mankind, the innocent and heroes alike. May we never forget them.

It doesn’t take much to make me tear up these days. I don’t pay it a lot of mind when it happens, recognizing it for what it is: grief, working itself to the surface, where the air is clear and fresh. But hearing the re-hash of collective national pain was almost more than I could bear, and so I went out to the garden to get away from it.

But things didn’t get better in the garden. In fact, everywhere I looked, I saw the evidence of failure, of hard work undone by a few short months of benign neglect. And I wondered, what is the point of it all? Why can’t you just finish the planting, the hardscaping, the nipping and tucking and see it finished? Why does it always require your attention to keep it neat and tidy? Why, after all our hard work to get it just so, does it always begin, almost immediately, that steady state of decay? Why can’t we just fix things and be done with it?

So, instead of working, I sat down on a bench and let my gaze rest on the scraggly, ugly, nearly leafless plum tree that has never borne a single fruit. And I thought about why I’d awakened in melancholy. I thought about the nasty politics of the past few weeks surrounding the issue of public health care and I wondered why it is that we can’t just fix things in this country and be done with it? Why, instead of making forward progress on grown-up issues in a civil manner, do we always seem to be mired in name-calling and fear-mongering? Why do the profiteers of hate, who trade in the currency of fear—you know who they are—why do these forces of decay always sneak back into the garden and take over?

Our country can do better. It is not disloyalty to say this. Don’t we say it of our own gardens? Don’t we look around at them, even when they are at their best, and think, “Yes. Good. But I need to take care of ...”?

Don’t we do this? Don't we love them still for all their warts?

By any objective standard, we do not have the best health care in the world—I don’t care how much we like to pat ourselves on the back and say so. We can be loyal fans and cheer all we want for our team, but we could stand some improvement here and there. The World Health Organization ranks our country as 37th in the world for health care. France is number 1. Yeah, yeah, yeah--there are those who say the WHO results are biased. What results aren't? But there is an attempt there to have an objective set of criteria applied instead of mere rhetoric.

How about this anecdotal evidence: I can’t speak personally for the countries between France and the US, but I can tell you that once, in the middle of the night, a French doctor made an emergency visit to my Parisian hotel room, administered an EKG, gave me some medicine, and charged me $100 US. And I had no insurance there and I am not a French citizen.

Now, try to picture that happening in this country. I can’t, and I am a US citizen and have good health insurance here. Imagine how it would be for the uninsured.

Now, compare and contrast: I scratched my eye once, working in my parents' garden. I went to a minor emergency care unit at the hospital in their hometown, where I waited in a crowded room for three hours to see a doctor. He put some drops in my eye and took a look at it. I was billed $500 because it was out of service care.

It is not my intention to start a debate about the pitfalls and pratfalls that will befall us if we start to tinker, but how about we settle down and talk about improvement on the system? I’m not saying it won’t be hard. I'm not saying that there isn't a lot that needs to be worked out. I’m not saying there won’t be sacrifices made. I am saying that we can do better, and that we need to stop the shouting and finger-pointing and get some grown-up work done. I am saying that we need to stop being afraid of change. I am saying that if we stand around and do nothing, then the forces of decay set in. Truthfully? I think they’ve already started.

So I’m sitting there, thinking about all of this, thinking about Alzheimer’s, thinking about drought, thinking about that damned plum tree and how much it has grown to represent failure. Then, because it was on the radio in the background, I start thinking again about those firefighters that rushed into those burning buildings on that fateful day so many years ago. And I think about our nasty national squabbling and the due we pay the profiteers of hate, and wonder if it dishonors that sacrifice.

I think about how we’ve let things get out of control, about how we've let decay creep into the garden. 

I rose suddenly from my bench and went to the storage shed, where I pulled out an axe. I went into the shop, grabbed a file, and sharpened that axe. I meant to cut down that tree.

It wasn’t easy. The roots were twisted and curled in on themselves, thick as sausages, hard as greasewood, impossible to reach. I dug and hacked at them, and then did it some more. I pushed on the tree and bent it clear to the ground, but still it would not quit, and so I took the axe and slashed at those roots again, and again, and again. I grunted. I yelled. I cussed. Sweat spilled into my eyes and fogged my glasses, and my heart pounded wildly until I thought it would burst, but I kept swinging that axe. All my frustration and anger of the past year were concentrated in the sharpened edge of my tool.

And then finally, with a sound like a sigh, the tree let go the earth. I felt no sadness for it.

After it was all over, I cut the root ball and branches off and hauled them to the trash. The trunk I saved for a project somewhere down the road. I cleaned the axe, slipped the protective cover over the blade, and put it back in its place in the storage shed. Then I wiped the sweat from my eyes and had myself a cold drink of water. The tremor I felt was a measure of order returning to my pocket of the universe.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Well, construction of the bicycle path/dry arroyo has begun and should be finished by the end of the week. The biggest task so far has been digging up a beautiful stand of buffalo grass/blue grama (BGBG) that was growing smack dab in the middle of the proposed path and transplanting it to patchy spots in the front and back yards.  I've long had a vision for the veggie plot in which it is transformed from a neglected and forgotten former dog run/storage spot to a kitchen garden that pays homage to early prairie homesteaders. Since BGBG are the grasses that make up the foundation of the short grass prairie, I wanted to fill in the paths with this mix. I've made good progress toward that end, with about three-quarters of the space growing nicely with BGBG, but I still had one section to go:

The BGBG that is already established is growing very nicely and manages to crowd out the noxious grasses, like crab grass and foxtail, that were there before. It also looks beautiful:

Can't you just picture a woman homesteader walking out into a golden stand of prairie early in the morning to visit her garden?

So all week I've been digging up sod and transplanting it. In doing so, I temporarily created my own mini-sod farm:

I transplanted the sod the way my father taught me: dig a trench, pack in the chunks as tightly as possible and gently pound it in with your fist to make good contact with the soil. Then fill in any spaces between with loose dirt and water in.

Here are the results:

There now. Doesn't that look better already?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Test nĂºmero dos

Sent from my iPhone

Okay, people, why isn't this photo showing up when I send it from my iPhone? Any ideas?
And while we're at it, any thoughts on how to set things up so that people can subscribe to my blog via email? I tried reading the instructions on feedburner, but it just confused me...

UPDATE: Bingo! Got the photo thing fixed.

This concludes our test. If this had been a real emergency, you would have eaten the slice of peach pie and had a lie-down until the feeling passed.

This is only a test

This is only a test. In a real emergency you would be instructed to eat a slice of peach pie before posting to your blog from your phone.

(Just trying out some technology, y'all. Thanks for stopping by, and have a good evening.)

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, September 7, 2009

Public Plantings: Mixed Feelings

It seems that there's something nervous-making about wide spaces and a lot of sky for some people, and so there's this tendency here to plant trees whenever and wherever possible. The funny thing is, though, no matter how many trees get planted on the plains, that big ole sky stays just as big. Witness this vista on the tail end of one of my regular riding loops:

I like this stretch of the ride, partly because I'm almost home at this point, but also because the streets are wide and empty of cars and, well, the xeric plantings that it boasts are just plain appealing. I also like the nifty little walking boulevard that runs down the middle of the street:

It's empty on this Sunday morning because all the good people in LBB are in church while the rest of us are out riding around on our overpriced bicycles enjoying the subtle shift from the unreasonably hot summer to the kinder, more temperate autumn. The truth is, however, that as appealing as it is, there are never that many people on the boulevard at any time of the day or week. I'm not really sure why this is. I have some thoughts on the matter, but they are not fully formed, so I'll keep them to myself for the time being.

It also has these pretty little benches up and down the boulevard, strategically situated in the shade of the live oaks, that--given our tendency to seek out a place to get out of the sun--ought to have people sitting on them, though I've never seen that happen:

But this is my favorite part, the view I see as I roll up to the stoplight right before campus:

Sitting next to this cheerful tableau (in the shade!) and waiting for the light to change never fails to make me smile.

This public planting is my offering to the "Out on the Streets" meme over at Veg Plotting. OOTS is a seasonal look at our favorite/not-so-favorite examples of the public spaces in our communities. I picked this example not just because I find it attractive, but also because I have some mixed feelings about it. Here are the facts: Several years ago, this area was a run-down, low-income neighborhood that was full of prostitution, crack-selling, and just plain crime-ridden scariness. But it was also one of the oldest neighborhoods in town, and people had their homes there--some had even lived there for all the many decades of their lives.

Along comes a local developer, father of the then-mayor, and the people who lived in the neighborhood were bought out one by one, the houses razed or (rarely) moved elsewhere, and apartment complexes, shopping centers, a multi-star hotel, high-end lofts, and big houses were built in their places. People of lesser means were scattered in an economic diaspora across the city.

How all this occurred was controversial and rather heavy-handed. People were compensated for their homes, but if they had no desire to sell, pressure was applied until they did. Things got very ugly for awhile.* All of this was in the name of "urban renewal," though I'm sure it didn't hurt that the developer stood to make some money off the project.

And it is a nicer section of town now. I probably would not have felt comfortable riding through parts of it a few years ago. The crime is down, the streets are cleaner, and things look all fresh and new. But there was some meanness and bitter feelings getting to this point. And I'm not sure crime has really gone down in the city; it has probably just moved elsewhere.

There aren't many long-term residents here now; for the moment, it is mostly a transient housing space for students. Maybe that has something to do with why nobody is sitting on those pretty benches; maybe, in spite of it looking like a neighborhood, it isn't one anymore. Maybe a neighborhood needs people who plan to stay awhile, to raise a family, to plant a garden of their own. Maybe a neighborhood needs to have a mix of families, elders, students, and others, and yes, a mix of incomes. Maybe there need to be dogs running around underfoot. I don't know.

So as a long-time, long-term resident, every time I ride through this area and see the pretty, empty boulevards, I remember this bitter time. But here is where I'm conflicted: I like the way it looks now. I prefer this view to the other. I believe in beautiful public spaces. I think they soothe our souls and make life better. And this one has done so many things right: xeriscaping, creating spaces for neighbors to sit and jaw, wide streets for cyclists, and boulevards to encourage pedestrian activity.

I just wish we could have gotten to this point without the meanness and suffering.

*This history is documented in the archives of the local newspaper, The Avalanche Journal, as well in documents housed in the archives of Texas Tech University's Southwest Collections Special Collections Library.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Am a Trained Naturalist. And Cook.

Readers may remember this tree and my ambivalence about getting rid of it:
Well, the drought this summer has finally gone and done it in and I find that my ambivalence about it has done gone as well. So with a three-day weekend staring me in the face, I decided it was a good time to do the dirty deed and dig it up.
But when I went to water it in (you should never, ever try to dig in west Texas dirt without watering it first; failure to do so could break a shovel), I found these among the suckers at its base:

Now, the Big Walu and I don’t do any golfing, and as far as I know, the schnoodles don’t either, so I’ll admit to being baffled at first as to what they were doing under the tree. But I am a trained naturalist, as you well know, and it wasn’t too many minutes before it hit me what was really going on here.

These must be squirrel eggs!

Yes, that’s right. My arch frenemies have gone all broody on me and started hiding their eggs under trees. I have read about this in books, but have never actually had the good fortune to see it for myself in the wild. What a coup this is indeed.
Now, I’ve been reading a lot of posts lately, such as this one by Karen at Greenwalks, about how good fresh eggs taste, and they’ve made me so jealous I just want to spit like a camel. As y’all know, I’ve wanted some chickens of my own for just about the longest time, and so all these posts about fresh eggs merely serve to torment me. But when I found these gems under the tree, I knew I had a chance to experience a little fresher-than-fresh egg nirvana of my own.

Frying up the eggs:

I like my eggs on dry toast so as to fully taste their eggy goodness:

Here is a picture of me eating the eggs:

Oh, sorry. I think the camera slipped a tad. Here’s a better shot:

No, that still didn’t get it. Let’s try one more time:

Ah, yes, there we go. I thought I could detect a hint of pear layered with a soupcon of grassiness. In all, they were delightful, if a bit on the bouncy side, and everything a fresh egg is cracked up to be.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's 100 degrees in the shade. Can Thanksgiving be far away?

There have been a couple of times this summer that my training buddy Jill and I have ridden through Yellow House Canyon on our way to "Slay the Dragon Hill." Why it is called "Slay the Dragon" is a story for another time and place, for tonight what I want to talk about is this little shady stretch of road along the way. Of course, in Texas in the summer, any patch of shade feels like mercy raining down from the heavens, but this one seems especially cool and restful since it comes at a point in the trip when any dragon slayers who happen to be wheeling down the asphalt have started to tire of looking at endless, table-flat fields of cotton blistering in the yellow heat. There you are, slightly delirious and sick and thinking that all the world looks like picnic lunch that got left in the sun too long, when suddenly the road drops down into the canyon and a tunnel of leafiness appears before you like some kind of miracle. It is as if from out of nowhere on a hot day, a generous stranger hands you a cold drink of water and says, "Here. It's going to be all right."

I'd show you a picture of it, but you can't take a picture of a miracle. Everybody knows that.

Anyway. Each time we've ridden through this stretch of road, we've scared up this flock of wild turkeys. And each time, I make Jill stop so I can try to take a picture of them with my iPhone. I guess turkeys think they are miracles, because it's been awfully hard to get them to stick around long enough to get a good shot.

Um, maybe that was a poor choice of words...

Certainly, the turkeys seem to be skittish and camera shy, but the last time we rode through there, I finally managed to get a picture of one. It's kind of hard to see, so I've put an arrow in to help you:

Hmmm. It looks like it's still a bit difficult to make out. I'll see if I can enlarge it a tad to help you. I think if I click on this little thingey, and drag that little doodad...

There. How about now?

I swear, it looked just like that.